FORGOTTON souls in a Ballarat funeral home will be official laid to rest on Friday morning.
FW Barnes and Son will scatter the uncollected ashes of 16 people who have been in their care, including one who has been with them for 61 years.
In a quiet and discreet corner of the property, accessible to the public, FW Barnes and Son has created the Garden of Respect.
FW Barnes and Son manager Simon Dwyer said the garden was a way to help create closure for their life stories.
“Everywhere I’ve been, be it a funeral home or a cemetery office, they are there, usually neatly packed away in a cupboard or the garage,” Mr Dwyer said.
“We don’t know why they are still in our care, contact has been attempted with the next of kin on many occasions, to no avail. So we are making a decision for the deceased.
“...We don’t know their stories, but we know their names.”
Mr Dwyer said forgotten souls, the uncollected cremated remains, had not been forgotten at FW Barnes and Son – many had been safely transported from the home’s previous Sturt Street address to their base on the corner of Pleasant and Darling streets in a 1991 move.
But, Mr Dwyer said, it was time to give each soul closure.
Their names will be on a plaque on the external wall of the home’s chapel, by the garden.
Mr Dwyer has advice from the Australian Funeral Directors Association and the Health Department that a dignified scattering of ashes was appropriate for uncollected remains after more than a year and when documented, concerted attempts to contact next of kin had been made.
FW Barnes and Son made a public notice of their intentions in mid-July, when a surprised Ian Getsom arranged to take his friend John Stretch home to what had been the Stretch family property in Naringal.
Mr Stretch had died in a car crash in 1976. There was a special vintage car convoy from the funeral home to Naringal for a memorial service earlier this month. His ashes were among 80 uncollected souls at FW Barnes and Son. The funeral home will be open for a chance to talk with staff after the 11am service.